The War Reporter Paul Watson Takes Some Afghans to Niagara by Dan O’Brien

Binoculars for viewing Niagara Falls by Amels from Unsplash

A force mightier than war. Heard falling
sideways underfoot and over the cusp
of everything and nothing. Inspiring
rainbows in its pillowing haze. While limbs
emerge black through sheaths of ice. Dun grass breaks
through scabrous snow. Aprille. As pilgrims’ breath
unfurls at the railing and the wind beats
up my microphone. Plastic scraps whistling
in the razor wire of thorn bushes like
opium poppies. So we descend to view
the punishing wheel, foam specks floating, light
winking through epaulets on Sayed’s shirt
while families barricade their daughters
between their bellies. When Roya sneezes
she finds herself speaking English: I beg
your pardon. 
Elevating to the roar
above, again, flags flapping and peering
through coin-operated eyes at allies
on the other side. It’s so much smaller
than in all the pictures! 
I fell asleep
driving them home that night. When the rumble
strip woke us up — another tragedy

Source: The Fiddlehead, 2015, vol. 265, p. 31

Also published in Dan O’Brien New Life. Brooklyn: Hanging Loose Press, 2016. Distributed by SPD: Small Press Distribution. Click here for more information

Click here for Dan O’Brien’s website

Read On “New Life”: an Interview with Dan O’Brien by Lauren Prastien in the Michigan Quarterly Review, October 7, 2015

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